One of the things good marketing stresses over and over when dealing with you (the customer) is to “Get inside their heads.” Unfortunately, most of these pieces of “wisdumb” seldom (i.e., NEVER) tell you how to do that. They want you to waste time looking through your selling records, extracting data from previous purchases, remember the details of a phone conversation and incredible time consuming things like that.
Well, about a year ago I did something a little different, I asked you! What an idea! I sent out a survey to a bunch (a good sized sample) to many, via email, asking how interested you were in say 15-20 categories. Startingly, I got a LOT of answers. That was a first for me. And also got some extra comments.
I Intend to DO That again with some minor modifications
This time I will attempt to list some “thoughts” you might have and let you check off whether you agree or not. Or, add your own comment. Having studied statistics in college I am aware of the variety of possible answers I might get, but I want to make it easy so that you will at least respond.
I know everyone is busy these days, it’s actually been that way for years, a hundred years or more, long before email. It wouldn’t be until evening before my grandfather (a cattle rancher and farmer) would read the newspaper or watch something on TV… on HIS terms. And every day, around noon lunch he would listen to the farm report (like I view the ChessBase pages on my monitor every day). [How many know that Carlsen just won another tournament in a tiebreaker with Germany’s Arkady Naiditsch?]
“Entering into the conversation inside my client’s head” is the best way I can think of in building a bond or relationship with that person. It’s harder for me since I am basically the only employee here (my “girls” work with me when they can and lately, that hasn’t happened much).
The way I used to do it was “in the trenches.” That is, selling on the road at chess tournaments and being invited by organizers to their event. All that packing, lifting, moving and wear and tear on the brain prevents me doing that much these days. My last event was Mark Capron’s in Coralville, IA. My next will probably be in Dayton, Ohio! After that will come my Chess Festival with a Paul Morphy theme, in October! (Hope you will come!!)
People like free stuff, in general, and especially if it has some kind of value to them. Finding good premiums, and affordable premiums is a little harder! And if they aren’t reports or books, the postage costs climb right through and up the chimney. But, I am looking. For the time being I will mostly stick to printed reports or chess envelope souvenirs. I did this when I was running the Gentlemen’s chess club. Forethought and execution was required but it seemed people liked them. Even the audience contributed, such as an Army Colonel now back in N. Carolina! It was fun while I had unearthed examples showing that when you are looking at examples of the top players play you would notice (over and over) that they were inexorable! That is, everything they did smacked of trying to mate their opponents. Sure they would try to win material sometimes, but when you looked closely, they were after the other guy’s King, consistently, unrelentingly, and obviously. Even Fischer played this way. So, I will be asking for opinions in a new survey, and no doubt include a postage paid envelope for answers! This MIGHT get me inside the head of clients/customers/friends, etc. What most of us dislike is being offered something we are NOT interested in, in the least such as a #2 pencil with an imprint of Ted Cruz on it!
Perhaps you are not aware that virtually all books we offer these days are now discounted by 25% That’s a lot! When a jewelry store offers 50% off on the latest collection of shiny and sparkly stuff, they don’t really get hurt. They may have a 200-300% markup. So even at 50% off, they still aren’t losing money. But the average chess book has a markup of 67-100%, that is a lot more precarious. Thus, Thinkers’ Press has to issue some of it’s own products to make a profit and/or get more customers.
However, I just got an announcement today of several new books. Perhaps you want one or more of them. They are:
the killer Sicilian by Tony Rotella. 464 pages, $29.95 Our price, $22.46. I don’t think we have enough Sicilian Defense books, do you? Yet, I will order some for those who are fans and who are looking for a way to stop White cold with a Kalashnikov type of weapon.
Then Lakdawala takes a breather and produces Larsen: move by move! This exploits Larsen’s skills in attack, defense, the initiative (which he was a monster in handling), imbalance exploitation, endgame play (did you KNOW that Larsen was one of the strongest endgame exponents of all the leading GMs?), and in the accumulation of advantages. 488 pages and $29.95 retail, our price at $22.46. I know this one will be good.
Two guys, Volker Schleputz and GM John Emms combined to create a slimmer book (256 pages) called The Chess Tactics Detection Workbook, at a lesser price, $20.96. The concept is to show you how to recognize when an opportunity (to win) can present itself. We all need this, whether these two writers succeed I don’t know as I haven’t seen the book yet, but I’ve been told it is on its way.
Apparently, 1…b6 Move by Move is at the warehouse and scheduled (soon) to be shipped. I forgot who the author was as it wasn’t mentioned in the press release.
So there you go, 3 new titles on their way and another waiting in the wings.
The THING is, almost everyone reading this could find value in at least one of those four books. If it was me, I would probably prefer the Larsen book by Lakdawala because most of us (esp. me) want to get the fire (initiative) started and then keep fanning the flames, and Larsen was great at doing that.
The Second Message for Today
While the second issue of the new Morphy publication is already almost completed (!), and that is good news as we feature (big feature) one of the biggest rapscallions of chess, the coming of perhaps several new lists are on the agenda too. You can make sure you are on these lists, for the entire year, by sending $19.95 (if you haven’t already). You will receive all of them. One may be what I call a LIBRARY REDUCTION by one of my customers. (We haven’t clinched and cinched the deal yet, but it looks good!) Bargains, runs, delectable items. Also including favorably priced DVDs from a variety of sources. Teeth-chattering deals making you reach for your wallet so quickly you will have to watch out for freezer-burn. People are getting on the $19.95 bandwagon. The part that takes the most time is for me to list these jewels which were probably taken from some royal crown (not the cola, remember them?) of chess royalty.
It’s another busy day at the bunkhouse (yes, I used to sleep in one.) Get excited and drop me a line.
563-271-6657 or firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. You might call what I do on this Blog a PRESS RELEASE. News tainted by selling something. Hopefully that pays at least for the time needed to create the blog. Think for a minute on how you can make your chess life MORE exciting. I think ONE way is to build an aesthetically pleasing library and I do invite you to tell me about yours (we can leave your name out if you wish). I am sure you can be a bit more lucid and interesting than some of the listings I have seen on Amazon. Here you are among real friends. Don’t try to impress, just be real, that will impress others even more.